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Proposed Rule

Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The Boeing Company Model DC-10-10 and DC-10-10F airplanes, Model DC-10-15 airplanes, Model DC-10-30 and DC-10-30F (KC-10A and KDC-10) airplanes, Model DC-10-40 and DC-10-40F airplanes, Model MD-10-10F and MD-10-30F airplanes, and Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of cracked floor beams and floor beam supports in the area of the overwing exit doors located at certain stations (STA). This proposed AD would require an inspection of the overwing floor beams for any repair, repetitive inspections of the overwing floor beams and floor beam supports at certain STA on the left and right sides for any crack, and applicable on-condition actions. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by October 9, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.
  • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
  • Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this NPRM, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Airworthiness Products Section, Operational Safety Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195. It is also available on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0779.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0779; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this NPRM, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Manuel Hernandez, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5256; fax: 562-627-5210; email: Manuel.F.Hernandez@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

The FAA invites you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views about this proposal. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of the comments. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2020-0779; Project Identifier 2020-NM-092-AD” at the beginning of your comments.

Except for Confidential Business Information (CBI) as described in the following paragraph, and other information as described in 14 CFR 11.35, the FAA will post all comments received, without change, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, the FAA will consider all comments received by the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. The FAA may change this NPRM because of those comments.

Confidential Business Information

CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments responsive to this NPRM contain commercial or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to this NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission containing CBI as “PROPIN.” The FAA will treat such marked submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public docket of this NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Any commentary that the FAA receives which is not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.

Discussion

The FAA has received reports indicating that cracked floor beams and floor beam supports have been found in the area of the overwing exit doors located at certain STA locations. Operators have reported fifteen airplanes with cracked floor beams in the area of the overwing exit doors located at STA Y = 1256, 1275, 1293, and 1305. Findings have included single or multiple cracked beams, severed beams, and cracked or failed supports. The earliest a crack was found in a Model DC-10-30 airplane was at 13,500 flight cycles, with the average at 18,300 flight cycles. The earliest a crack was found in a Model DC-10-10 airplane was at 23,500 flight cycles, with the average at 26,750 flight cycles. No cracking has been found on Model MD-11 airplanes to date. This condition, if not addressed, could result in an overwing floor beam crack that could grow in length until the floor beam severs, and, if limit load is applied with two adjacent severed floor beams, could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane, which could result in the loss of primary control systems and lead to reduced controllability of the airplane.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

The FAA reviewed Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB, dated February 6, 2020; and Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin MD11-Start Printed Page 5228853A088 RB, dated March 6, 2020. The service information describes procedures for a general visual inspection of the overwing floor beams for any repair; repetitive eddy current high frequency (ETHF) inspections of the overwing floor beams and floor beam supports for cracks, or repetitive ETHF inspections of the overwing floor beams and detailed inspections of the overwing floor beam supports at certain stations on the left and right sides for any crack, depending on configuration; and applicable on-condition actions. On-condition actions include repair. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane models.

This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

FAA's Determination

The FAA is proposing this AD because the agency evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

Proposed AD Requirements

This proposed AD would require accomplishment of the actions identified in Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB, dated February 6, 2020; and Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB, dated March 6, 2020, described previously, except for any differences identified as exceptions in the regulatory text of this proposed AD.

For information on the procedures and compliance times, see this service information at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2020-0779.

Explanation of Requirements Bulletin

The FAA worked in conjunction with industry, under the Airworthiness Directive Implementation Aviation Rulemaking Committee (AD ARC), to enhance the AD system. One enhancement is a process for annotating which steps in the service information are “required for compliance” (RC) with an AD. Boeing has implemented this RC concept into Boeing service bulletins.

In an effort to further improve the quality of ADs and AD-related Boeing service information, a joint process improvement initiative was worked between the FAA and Boeing. The initiative resulted in the development of a new process in which the service information more clearly identifies the actions needed to address the unsafe condition in the “Accomplishment Instructions.” The new process results in a Boeing Requirements Bulletin, which contains only the actions needed to address the unsafe condition (i.e., only the RC actions).

Costs of Compliance

The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 224 airplanes of U.S. registry. The FAA estimates the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

Estimated Costs for Required Actions

ActionLabor costParts costCost per productCost on U.S. operators
General visual inspection1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85$0$85$19,040
ETHF and detailed inspectionsUp to 70 work-hours × $85 per hour = $5,950 per inspection cycle0Up to $5,950 per inspection cycleUp to $1,332,800 per inspection cycle

The FAA estimates the following costs to do any necessary on-condition actions that would be required. The FAA has no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these on-condition actions:

Estimated Costs of On-Condition Actions

Labor costParts costCost per product
Up to 375 work-hours × $85 per hour = $31,875Up to $190,576Up to $222,451

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

The FAA is issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: “General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

The FAA determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

(2) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

(3) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Safety
End List of Subjects

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

End Authority
[Amended]
Start Amendment Part

2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

End Amendment Part

The Boeing Company: Docket No. FAA-2020-0779; Product Identifier 2020-NM-092-AD.

(a) Comments Due Date

The FAA must receive comments by October 9, 2020.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all The Boeing Company airplanes specified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (6) of this AD, certificated in any category.

(1) Model DC-10-10 and DC-10-10F airplanes.

(2) Model DC-10-15 airplanes.

(3) Model DC-10-30 and DC-10-30F (KC-10A and KDC-10) airplanes.

(4) Model DC-10-40 and DC-10-40F airplanes.

(5) Model MD-10-10F and MD-10-30F airplanes.

(6) Model MD-11 and MD-11F airplanes.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 53, Fuselage.

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by reports of cracked floor beams and floor beam supports in the area of the overwing exit doors located at certain stations. The FAA is issuing this AD to address potential undetected overwing floor beam cracks that could grow in length until the floor beam severs, and, if limit load is applied with two adjacent severed floor beams, could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane, which could result in the loss of primary control systems and lead to reduced controllability of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

(g) Required Actions

Except as specified by paragraph (h) of this AD: At the applicable times specified in the “Compliance” paragraph of Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB, dated February 6, 2020; or Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB, dated March 6, 2020; as applicable, do all applicable actions identified in, and in accordance with, the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB, dated February 6, 2020; or Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB, dated March 6, 2020; as applicable.

Note 1 to paragraph (g):

Guidance for accomplishing the actions required by this AD can be found in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin DC10-53A184, dated February 6, 2020; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin MD11-53A088, dated March 6, 2020; as applicable, which are referred to in Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB, dated February 6, 2020; and Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB, dated March 6, 2020; respectively.

(h) Exceptions to Service Information Specifications

(1) Where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB, dated February 6, 2020, uses the phrase “the original issue date of Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB,” this AD requires using “the effective date of this AD,” except where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB, dated February 6, 2020, uses the phrase “the original issue date of Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB” in a note or flag note.

(2) Where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB, dated March 6, 2020, uses the phrase “the original issue date of Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB,” this AD requires using “the effective date of this AD,” except where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB, dated March 6, 2020, uses the phrase “the original issue date of Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB” in a note or flag note.

(3) Where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin DC10-53A184 RB, dated February 6, 2020, specifies contacting Boeing for repair instructions or for alternative inspections: This AD requires doing the repair, or doing the alternative inspections and applicable on-condition actions before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (i) of this AD.

(4) Where Boeing Alert Requirements Bulletin MD11-53A088 RB, dated March 6, 2020, specifies contacting Boeing for repair instructions or for alternative inspections: This AD requires doing the repair, or doing the alternative inspections and applicable on-condition actions before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (i) of this AD.

(i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the certification office, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j)(1) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-LAACO-AMOC-Requests@faa.gov.

(2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

(3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by The Boeing Company Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO Branch, FAA, to make those findings. To be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

(j) Related Information

(1) For more information about this AD, contact Manuel Hernandez, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Section, FAA, Los Angeles ACO Branch, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5256; fax: 562-627-5210; email: Manuel.F.Hernandez@faa.gov.

(2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Contractual & Data Services (C&DS), 2600 Westminster Blvd., MC 110-SK57, Seal Beach, CA 90740-5600; telephone 562-797-1717; internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Airworthiness Products Section, Operational Safety Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206-231-3195.

Start Signature

Issued on August 13, 2020.

Lance T. Gant,

Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-18487 Filed 8-24-20; 8:45 am]

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